Designed to Frustrate

I love so-called design hotels, but my recent overnights at the latest crop confirm that they’ve become too cool for me. It’s not the beautiful people trolling the lobby, or lolling by the bar — but the propensity to load up on technological bells and whistles in the name of “luxury.”

In one lavishly-appointed room, I recently spent a lot of my time trying to electronically draw the curtains and dim the lights. It was a complaint I heard throughout my stay.

“Design” hotels should offer stuff that works, consistently and easily. They should not have:

Mysterious showers. Toying with a multitude of dials and heads is especially difficult while bleary-eyed and naked.  (Should you attempt to do so while still clothed, you’re bound to end up drenched.)

In-house channels. On my last (fruitless) round through the tube’s dozens of offerings, looking for something decent to watch, I endured five hotel channels extolling the virtue of the property and its surroundings. Five.

Complicated lamps. Rooms these days favor lamps, and so do I. But why do they feature so many different mechanisms? Torchieres need to be stepped on at floor level, reading lamps bury toggles on their bases, desk lights hide switches halfway down their wires.

Dark closets. With all of those bulbs, though, the closet is often overlooked. But wait, there’s always more light . . . .

Overly-bright doodads. Eerie blue, alarming red  and preternaturally white lights emit from the tv power button, from the iPod dock, from the clock/radio, shedding their glow onto pillows, walls, and your face. Until, that is, you hide them with said pillow, turn them to said wall, or cover said face in despair.

Layered window treatments. That said, I do like a dribble of moonlight to come in as I take to my bed — after all, hotels rooms can become incredibly dark when everything is drawn. Why then must I perform a dance of (nearly) seven veils — the gauzy sheers, the blackout shades, the decorative curtain,  each with its own tangled cord mechanism — to get things just right?

Slamming doors. At last, the cheesy thin doors of yesteryear are gone. In their place: massive ones that slam behind guests as they come and go. A bane for late risers.

Overstuffed minibars. Does anyone ever buy $4 candy bars and $6 bottled waters? I do, by accident, whenever I empty the too-full shelves to stock them with my own Fiji. I’m always charged, the charge is always waived.

An empty refrigerator, that’s all I want.

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